Article Referenced From SI Live: http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/01/polish_baby_named_after_hero_s.html
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — A newborn baby in Poland carries the name of a hero soldier from Staten Island who died two years ago saving the life of the infant’s father.
U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Michael Ollis, 24, a lifelong resident of New Dorp, sacrificed his life on Aug. 28, 2013, while shielding Lt. Karol Cierpica from a suicide bomber in Afghanistan.
Newborn baby Michael Cierpica lies with a teddy bear made from the Army fatigues of Staff Sgt. Michael Ollis, the soldier from New Dorp who sacrificed his life saving the infant’s father during an attack in Afghanistan. (Photo courtesy of Ollis family)
Earlier this month, the Polish soldier became the proud father of a baby boy he named in honor of Ollis.
Robert Ollis and his wife, Linda, called the tribute to their son “unexpected” and “wonderful.”
“I thought of the baby as a grandson,” Ollis Sr. said “We are very happy and honored.”
To thank Cierpica and his wife, the Ollis family sent the couple a teddy bear they had specially made out of their son’s Army fatigues. The gift comes from a charity organization — the Matthew Freeman Project — which offers the free service to families of fallen soldiers.
They’re hoping to meet “Little Michael” in person next time Cierpica visits them in New York. Last summer, the Ollises traveled to Poland, where they visited with Cierpica and his wife and the Polish soldiers who’d served at the same base in Afghanistan with Sgt. Ollis and Cierpica.
“We’d like to see them again soon with Little Michael,” Ollis said.
Last year, Ollis and his wife started a charity in their son’s name — the Staff Sgt. Ollis Freedom Foundation, to help soldiers and veterans.
“We just want to help a young man or woman going into the service like Michael,” Ollis said.